Monero has a problem. The suspected spam transactions from earlier this year showed that Monero nodes do not cope with high transaction volume as well as expected. Monero protocol developers have been trying to get to the root of the issue, but the problem only appears when nodes are handling high transaction volumes.

Since the spam is over (for now), the only way to help developers find and fix the bottlenecks is to run a separate test network that will be spammed with transactions. We call it “stressnet”. The performance bottlenecks are potential blockers for privacy improvements like larger rings sizes and/or Full Chain Membership Proofs (FCMPs). To quote developer selsta: “a large increase to the ring size is going to risk the stability of the network if we don’t fix the known daemon [node] inefficiency bugs first.”

A testnet fork (the stressnet) has been created to stress test the node and diagnose performance bottlenecks. To participate, you can simply run a node using this slightly modified open source release of monerod (launch monerod with --testnet): https://github.com/spackle-xmr/monero/releases/latest

Testing begins on June 19th at 15:00 UTC. Current bugs require a significant number of connections to observe, so we need as many nodes on the stressnet as possible.

Ongoing discussion is being held on Matrix at #monero-stressnet:monero.social and Libera Chat IRC on ##monero-stressnet.

FAQs

  • What are the risks to running a stressnet node?

The anonymity set of running a node on the mainnet Monero network is in the thousands. The anonymity set of running a node on this stressnet will be in the dozens at best. If you run a stressnet node on your machine, the IP address of your machine (or the proxy’s IP address if your machine uses a proxy) will be visible to other nodes on the network. If you have an extreme threat model, this may be an unacceptable risk for you.

The Monero node process may consume a lot of your computer’s resources like CPU and especially RAM. You can set the priority of the node lower using nice or just quit the process if it is taking up too much of your resources.

  • How can I see what’s happening on the stressnet?

We have set up a stressnet blockchain explorer at https://explorer.stressnet.net/ . We are working on more ways to visualize the stressnet activity.

  • When should I sync up my node?

As soon as possible. The initial sync may take over 24 hours to complete. Once spamming starts on June 19th, it may be difficult to sync from scratch.

  • How much storage space do I need?

The stressnet blockchain is about 10GB now. The stressnet could use up to 50GB of storage by the time testing completes. Pruning your node is fine.

  • How long will the stressnet run?

We hope that it will run for two months. If it takes more time than expected to track down the bottlenecks and test patches, the stressnet could go on for longer.

  • Would it be possible/advisable to run it alongside a mainnet node?

Yes, this is fine. If you also run a testnet node (this would be rare), then you have to change the stressnet node’s default ports and the blockchain storage location. Instructions are in the README of spackle-xmr’s monero GitHub repo.

  • RuckniumOP
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    1 month ago

    At least 3 new nodes joined the network in the last hour. Thank you! Keep them coming.

  • tusker
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    1 month ago

    Great to see this effort being started. Hopefully we can test up to 1 million tx per day.